Wedding DIY-ers

Tips from real-life brides who planned and executed the big and small details of their dream wedding.

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All About

The Couple: Lura & Shon Roti
The Location: The Old Coliseum in Sioux Falls, S. D.

Lura's Story: "Shon and I met at a small downtown pub and quickly became friends. We learned that we have so many similarities — we both love antiques, old houses, and are do-it-yourselfers. Our goal was to have a fun but elegant wedding within our budget; we spent about $9,500 on our wedding including the reception for about 250 guests. Shon I did everything ourselves except cater the meal."

Her Tips:

Design the dresses yourself: "I designed and made my own wedding dress; it is dupioni silk and only cost about $250 to make. My bridesmaid dresses were sleeveless blue sundresses and all were either sewn by my bridesmaids themselves or by a local seamstress. Our colors were robin's-egg blue and chocolate brown, so to coordinate the bridesmaids' dresses; I added brown sashes to each. My flower girls' dresses were purchased white dresses to which I added a blue sash made of the same fabric as my bridesmaid dresses. My advice is that if you or someone else is going to make your dress, try on a similar one in a store so you'll know that style will look good on you. Also, don’t think you are going to lose those extra pounds before the wedding, make sure the dress looks good on you as you are. Remember, that’s who he fell in love with in the first place. I also recommend that if you are new to sewing make a practice dress — I made several."

Be your own florist: "I also created all the floral arrangements for my wedding: my bouquet, the boutonnieres and the bridesmaids' flowers. To ensure they would be fresh for the big day, I put them together the night before the wedding. I worked with a local wholesaler and used 300 white long-stem roses. Don’t be afraid to ask the florist for tips, even if they are not making your bouquets for you. I had never worked with flowers before, so I asked for a few tips and they were more than helpful."

Design a central theme: "Shon designed our monogram which we incorporated in several aspects of our wedding; this really helped us tie everything together visually. Not only did we use it to seal our invitations, we also included it in our programs and on the reception tables. For the ceremony, we designed a 6 x 6 foot version of our monogram for the area in front of the altar, which my little brother covered with rose petals the day before our wedding."